Without further ado we decided to make our way to the heart of Bali. Ubud.
What was once a quiet little mountain town is now a focal point of the island’s tourism. However, despite the influx of foreigners, the odd sighting of a familiar shop (i.e. Accessorize) and the insane traffic – roads are small; traffic is numerous – the town has managed to retain its charm.
Ubud is a beautiful place. Even in the centre of the town you feel close to nature. Trees and greenery spring up from ever corner – from hotel courtyards to roadway sidewalks; from terraces to windows; balconies to doorways. And all this is nestled within steep ravines and terraced rice paddies. It is a jungle town.
But Ubud is abundant in more than just tourists and nature. It is a heartland of spirituality as well. Bali in all is one of the most spiritual places I have been. I don’t mean like a church or a mosque, but an entire island that exudes a powerful spiritual energy, at which Ubud is central. Every corner, every road, every pavement.
Every shop, every home, every paddy.
A shrine, an offering, is present everywhere. Offerings are given daily and as you walk along the streets the vibrant colours catch your eye with every step. The shrines outnumber the shops; the pilgrims the tourists.
It is a wonderful daily scene and one, when I leave Ubud and Bali, I feel I will miss.
For me I think this was the highlight of Ubud. This or the food. We had 2 days of gorging on Balinese specialities of Babi Guling (the most suckling ‘suckling pig’ ever) and Bebek Tutu (24 hour smoked duck that falls of the bone with a wisp of air and melts in the mouth like butter).
These are two dishes I already want to recreate at home, if only to try and transport me back to Ubud and the majestic settings in which we ate. This (below) is were we ate the duck – overlooking rice paddies in the centre of town, whilst farmers were out hunting frogs (that’s the light of their lantern on the left).
Other than the spiritual and gastronomic enlightenings Joyce and I ‘shopped-till-we-dropped’ (or more like browsed-till-we-broke) and took part in some (I’m afraid to say) mediocre touristy adventures…
Bike riding down the mountain back into Ubud:
White water rafting grade 3 rapids (no pictures of us in action I’m afraid):
And visiting the oft aggressive Balinese monkeys… We caught this pair on a good day:
And that’s it. Ubud. Tick. Done.
Wish us luck!